Trader Joe’s Bacon and Spinach Salad

Trader Joe's Bacon and Spinach Salad

12 ounces of heart-clogging goodness.

When is a salad not a salad? No, that’s not the set up for a hilarious joke – it’s a dead on serious philosophical musing. Undoubtedly there are as many different answers as there are salad lovers on this planet. Some might quibble over the presences of leafy greens, others might argue the necessity of a dressing. For me, it comes down to nutrition.

When a salad is delivering 108% of your daily fat intake in a single serving, that’s a poorly constructed hamburger not a salad. When someone can say to you, “Whoa, buddy, instead of that salad, why don’t you try something healthier. Here, shove these two Big Macs into your mouth at the same time.” That for me is where a salad crosses the threshold into junk food. What I’m saying is, brace yourself for Trader Joe’s Bacon and Spinach Salad.

I bought this salad the other night because I was hungry and had managed to convince myself that, you know, in light of the paleolithic diet, Atkins, etc TJ’s Bacon and Spinach Salad wasn’t actually that bad for me. If you haven’t looked yet, I’m going to direct your eyes to the bottom of this article. Yup, that’s right. Not just 108% of your daily recommended fat, but 105% of your cholesterol, 68% of your sodium, and even some trans fats in there for good measure, all delivered directly to your arteries on a healthy bed of fresh spinach.

Who in their right mind can call this a salad? If they’d stopped at the bacon, that’d be one thing but this salad by no means stops at the bacon. What else is in there?

Well, we’ve got some cherry tomatoes, nice plump and juicy, that’s fine, a whole hard-boiled egg, that’s not too bad, then we have the mozzarella cheese and the poppy seed dressing. I’m not sure which of those chokes me with surprise more. I mean, the mozzarella just seems egregious. We’ve already slathered the spinach with a hefty helping of cured pork belly, bacon that is literally sagging with fat, who was out there was thinking, “This salad just isn’t rich enough. Throw on a bunch of fatty, white cheese!” And, with that in mind, can I just say – poppy seed dressing? Really, Trader Joe’s? On top of everything else, poppy seed? One of the richest, liquid-fat infused dressings on the books? And not even a poppy seed dressing that makes overtures at healthiness, but an oily poppy seed dressing? Honest to god, this poppy seed dressing has a thick layer of oil floating on the surface when you crack it open. I’ve had poppy seed dressings many times before, but never one that comes with its own oil slick.

It’s astounding, readers. This salad is practically a novella about the rage simmering beneath the exterior of one crazed salad designer at Trader Joe’s, a man who has been forced, day after day, to design fresh, light new takes on lemon chicken while his soul within slavers for sticks of butter and pork flesh, a man who, one day, snapped when presented with a bag of broccoli slaw, the levees of his mind giving way to the flood of carnal need, and leapt about ransacking the shelves, tongue hanging out of his mouth, loading up a bed of spinach with his every secret, depraved desire.

Okay, so if you eat this salad everyday your body fat will eventually smother your heart and you will die, on that we can all agree. On the other hand, it’s very tasty. And of course it’s tasty, it’s a pile of fat and salt – it’s incredibly delicious. Pour on the poppy seed dressing, mix up the bacon and cheese and dig in – you’re taste buds will be taken on a wild ride of salty, fatty, meaty tastes. In fact, the most incredible thing about this salad is that it’s actually edible. As anyone who’s had a Big Mac can testify, it’s hard to eat so much fat and salt in one sitting and not leave feeling at least a little ill. For this we can thank the spinach and cherry tomatoes, which provide a clean, light taste counterbalance to the more dominant heavy tastes. In a way, it’s a brilliant solution to the problem of how to eat a bunch of fatty bacon and cheese all at once. If that’s not a problem your trying to solve, then this may not be the salad for you.

The Breakdown

Would I Recommend It: No to salad fans, yes to bacon fans.

Would I Buy It Again: I’m not sure my blood pressure can take it.

Final Synopsis: A novel way to eat a bunch of sloppy bacon.

Trader Joe's Bacon and Spinach Salad - Nutritional Facts

Trader Joe’s Bacon and Spinach Salad – Nutritional Facts


3 Comments on “Trader Joe’s Bacon and Spinach Salad”

  1. This is my FAVORITE TJ’s salad, but I AM a bacon lover 😀 Thanks for the photo for my order-in menu for a clinic next weekend though!

  2. Laura W. says:


    First and most importantly, I want to say that I really enjoy reading your blog, am now a regular subscriber and in fact, spent ALL last night, from around 11:00 at night until the weeee hours of the morning, reviewing each and every highly entertaining, and otherwise spot on entry, until I could hear the birds chirping, the squirrels arguing, and decided it was time to finally call it a night and put. the. laptop. down.

    I was originally brought to your blog via a quick google search because I am a huge fan of Trader Joe’s Spinach and Uncured Bacon Salad, and have consumed quite a few containers over the past 6 months or so, but forgot the exact nutritional specifications and wondered how many calories it was adding to my daily budget. It’s the best tasting salad I have ever eaten, here, abroad, at home, or in a restaurant, and I have this salad on the brain, morning, noon, and night. I could eat it 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year, and I would definitely say that it is worth the $4.49 sticker price…. but I must confess, I was well-entertained, but absolutely MORTIFIED when I read your review, and discovered my most-cherished “healthy” salad packed in a whopping “108% of of daily recommended fat; 105% of the RDA for cholesterol; 68% RDA for sodium, and was, gasp…at 880 calories per serving!

    So, upon rising this…ummm…afternoon, I headed out to my local Trader Joe’s and (after quickly grabbing a bottle of South African Smoke Seasoning Blend) (phew!) made a bee line to the prepackaged salad section to double-check what you are telling me here.

    And lo and behold…and so, so, so, sorry to steal your thunder, (really, I am)…but from what I saw on the back of the container,


    IT’S NOT ***THAT*** BAD!!!!! Really! It’s NOT!!!

    Now , the label I was looking at, as of one-half hour ago, February 27, 2014, 5:30 PST, and somewhat geographically north of you, read:

    For 1 container / 11 oz / 312 grams

    ” 550 calories with dressing, and 320 calories without.”

    (and not 550 for the salad PLUS another 320 (or so) for the dressing, which is where, I suspect, you may have been lead astray…)

    And that’s not per serving, it’s per container.

    (which, interestingly enough, especially with this particular salad, could in fact be broken down into 2 fairly generously-sized salads)

    But I triple-checked; it is now listed as 550 calories per container with dressing included.

    Moreover, and I know this from becoming a recently- inscripted, dedicated, diligent, calorie camper and nutrition fact-checker @…

    Damn! Every time I eat an egg…a simple, humble egg…the cholesterol alarm bells ring…I am thrusted into “the red zone”…and I get a cholesterol warning.

    The fact of the matter is that eggs DO have cholesterol: a single egg has 215 mg of cholesterol, which egg-alone, is actually 72% of the RDA of 300 mg for cholesterol.

    However, recent research suggests that eggs, in and of themselves, actually *improve* your Cholesterol Profile and do *not* raise your risk of cardiovascular disease terrorifically. They are also loaded with vitamins, minerals, high quality proteins, good fats and various other lesser-known nutrients such as B12, B6, B5, A and selenium (at 22% per egg!) …

    (but don’t just take my word for it, (take theirs!) and, well, you can read all about it here: )

    Now…you combine that with non-reduced-fat mozzarella, beautiful bacon, and a 2 oz sized Solo cup of salad dressing, and wow, I am surprised at how well they manage to keep it all capped!

    Also, the more-than-generous helping of spinach they manage to pack down in the container and the 8-count of grape tomatoes naturally contribute to 200% of your RDA for both Vitamin A and C!

    And at 550 calories per container (and not 880, which I suspect is error on your part, ) it is well worth the calorie, cholesterol, and sodium expenditure as long as you don’t pair it with a Cup-O-Noodles or In-n-out Double Double with an order of fries on the side.

    And you will live to see tomorrow.

    Anway. Word. Up.

    Attentively yours…L

    • Thank you for the kind words, L! And double thanks for double checking my numbers. I generally grab my calorie info from websites that are dedicated to tracking that sort of thing. In this case I should have double checked it!

      I’m glad the salad’s better than I thought! I’ll update the stats to reflect the truth!

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